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I am working on a house right now and we are trying to figure out what to do with the backyard. Right behind the house there is a 4" concrete pad. It is about 14'x25' and sits pretty flat with a slight dip out - so water is not building up on it. This was put together with concrete trimmings on two outer edges that supported posts that have been removed. The concrete trim areas are 1.5' wide.

The inside concrete is in OK shape. The external 1.5' trim areas are rough, very rough. I could skim the whole thing and it might look good for a year or two but I doubt it would last. Also even with a new coating I just don't think the pad fits the yard.

So the yard is coming down at about a 5% grade to the house - just a big sloped yard. At about 15 feet from the house the yard flattens until you leave the front porch and continues down. So this concrete is saving the house from some water hitting it directly.

Right in front of the patio is a drainage ditch (just a few inches) and a french drain system that goes to the side of the house - note that the patio is only about 1/2 the width of the house.

My idea is to build a raised deck - about 1-1.5' high that goes until it hits the slope which would probably be at 20' with a 6" step off. I have built front porch decking over concrete but have not done anything this large before. Are there any concerns you would have, show-stoppers, big issues?

  • I would be thinking about how much digging you want to do with only a 6” step , for a wood product any way I might improve the little ditch to a more substantial French drain and trench the pier blocks so they won’t sit in water if a high clay area. The nice thing you won’t need a hand rail. – Ed Beal Mar 18 at 22:02
  • @EdBeal - The pad is just so ugly and looking at making the pad itself look better... doesn't make me think it will actually improve the situation much if any. The good thing is if I have a deck, I already have an underground electricity run so I can build some benches with lighting or a couple of flood lights out to yard. I am going to probably make the drainage ditch more formal if I go this route with blocking on the other side and extend it out to the side of the house. I really can't figure out another solution. – DMoore Mar 18 at 22:19
  • Oh so you can use the concrete as your footing, my bad I did not follow I was thinking next to it. I have done this with wood you might consider a sand stone overlay did that at moms on some 1940 era concrete work it went down easy and looks much better still today but my mom lives in a very mild climate almost never freezes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even though I love wood decks they need maintenance, I have done some epoxy overlays that might be even better I have not done a single epoxy overlay that large (mostly sidewalks) and a few basements. I am about maintainability. – Ed Beal Mar 18 at 23:37
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From what you've described there are no issues popping up directly, however it does sound like you might be considering not getting a permit. I strongly suggest that you do so for many reasons.

A few important ones:

  1. the jurisdiction will likely have pre-designed deck details for you to use
  2. you will be able to sell your house (you'll have to claim that all work was permitted)
  3. ask them your questions they will be happy to help point out any issues or concerns that you have not seen or considered and we were not either because we do not have all of the information

Have fun and enjoy!

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